Family

My Other Wife is an App

When technology challenges manhood

Can an app be a metaphor for marriage? Or for something even bigger, perhaps?

My daughter put Waze on my phone, and it’s fabulous. The Israeli-designed app not only gives you directions, but also measures the flow of traffic in real time, constantly computing the fastest way to get you from point A to point B.

As a man, I know how to get from point A to point B. If I don’t, I’m certainly not asking directions.

Waze saves me time, but it makes me miserable.

As a man, I know how to get from point A to point B. If I don’t, I’m certainly not asking directions. And I’m absolutely not changing a route I’ve taken for decades.

But Waze makes me.

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I get on a highway, take a deep breath, and prepare mentally to deal with whatever the traffic gives me. But no. Waze tells me to get off at Exit 22.

I get off at Exit 22 and Waze makes me violate another of my sacred driving precepts — always take the bigger road, never the smaller road.

But Waze makes me take the smaller road, which eventually leads back to the bigger road, faster than I could’ve gotten there myself. It’s a huge threat to my male ego.

Related: 10 Great Apps for New Parents

A famous story in my family goes like this: My grandfather was driving my grandmother when he ran a red light.

“Abel, the light was red,” my grandmother helpfully said.

“No, it was yellow when I went through it,” my grandfather replied.

Sure enough, a siren and flashing lights appear in the rearview mirror.

“What’s your hurry, pal?” the cop asked my grandfather.

“Abel, I told you the light was red!” my grandmother exclaimed.

The cop laughed. “I’m not gonna give you a ticket,” he told my grandfather. “Living with her is punishment enough.”

That’s when I realized that Waze is not a metaphor for marriage. It’s a metaphor for God.

Waze triggers in me the same sort of defensive testiness I suddenly develop whenever my wife helpfully points out that I’m on the wrong road.

I may be on the wrong road, but I’m making great time.

Using Waze forces me to sublimate my ego and recognize that maybe I don’t know what’s best, that my view is limited at best, and that there’s a force out there that knows more than I do.

That’s when I realized that Waze is not a metaphor for marriage. It’s a metaphor for God.

My view is limited. All I can see is a small piece of the road ahead. If there’s something bigger, smarter, and more far-seeing than I, why don’t I avail myself of that vision? Waze is certainly a cool app and well worth the 11 seconds it takes to install it.

But when it comes to sublimating my ego and recognizing my true place in the world, and getting directions for where I’m going, maybe the ultimate app is God.

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